The drive from Bangalore to Kodaikanal
via NH7 is one of the most picturesque ones that I have taken. Already been twice on this highway. Can’t wait to hit it once more. The highway is in a very good condition (If you are from the developed Countries, you might be feeling surprised if it needs a mention. But believe me, very few roads in India are in this good condition). However, there are numerous “toll booths” on the way (A total of 9 of them). The total toll fee comes to around INR 1400/- for a round trip). Although, the scenic beauty and the smooth drive makes the trip worth every bit of it.
The highway is one of the best roads in India, running through one of the most picture perfect landscapes. The highway is cut right out of the majestic hills. It has greenery on both the sides & flowers in the middle of the divider. And, it is around 490km drive from Bangalore to Kodaikanal. It takes a total of 6-8 hrs to reach the destination (since the last stretch of hilly winding road takes up quiet some time). The route goes on these hops:
You can start early from Bangalore to avoid getting caught into the city traffic. In about half an hour you will reach hosur. Bangalore_Hosur boarder also marks the border between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu – the two south Indian states. So, if you are using a cab, you will need to stop by as soon as you enter Hosur to pay the commercial permit at the RTO check-post. Since we were using a cab, we stopped here for the payment, for around 15 minutes.
After crossing Hosur, the traffic on this highway is generally minimal. There is a good breakfast hop at Hosur. There are 2-3 different restaurants here, including a MacDonalds, a cafe coffee day, a south Indian restaurant serving idli, dosa and other south Indian delicacies. It is our favortie stop for breakfast. Since, lots of options are available here. And, refreshment options are also there. The public restroom here is neat and clean and can be conveniently used before continuing on the long onwards journey.
After the breakfast, you can directly drive till Kodaikanal. If you don’t feel like stopping here, you can stop next in Salem. Since, the route will pass right through the middle of this town. However, your options in Salem will be limited to a few south Indian delicacies. And in case you are starting really early, better carry some healthy travel friendly snacks with you like the rite bite energy bar
, baked chips
, fruits, dry fruit mix
As you start driving from Hosur onwards, soon you hit Krishnagiri. This is where the Bangalore to Kodaikanal highway becomes extremely scenic. There are beautiful stone hills on both sides of the road. And the road curves and winds almost through these mountains. The sides of the roads are marked with palm trees, as if painted like that, in perfect line. While the divider of the road blooms with seasonal flowers. Vehicles easily drive at a speed of 150km per hour or more on this road. And there are very few vehicles, so, the stretch gets covered very quickly.
Next major town that you pass through is Salem. The highway becomes multilane here and the road passes through almost the middle of the town. As mentioned earlier, if you had not stopped earlier for breakfast, you can stop here. In our case, we had breakfast in Hosur but our cab driver was not hungry enough at that time. So, he stopped later in Salem to have breakfast. If you need to stock up on any medicines or snacks for your journey then you can do that at Salem.
The beauty of the beauty of the Bangalore to Kodaikanal road trip is that the road goes straight till Karur. After Salem, you cross Thopur and Namakul but finally only at reaching Karur, you need to take your first turn. There is no left or right to be taken once one hits Hosur road right inside the boundaries of Bangalore city. Sometimes it’s the vast stretch of palm grooves, sometimes fields of grapes cultivation, sometimes rocky mountains and sometimes greenery ladened trees. All these beautiful natural landscapes around the highway take away all your tiredness. Although the distance is long, you will not in the least feel the effort put into the driving.
Anyways, back to the point. At Karur, you keep looing for a sign of diversion towards Dindigul. Once you start seeing the sign, take the service road towards your left. Then, again keep an eye for the board that indicated the turn to Dindigul. Upon seeing the board, you need to turn right, passing from below the main highway. need to take a right turn using the service road, once you see the right sign board.
After taking the right turn towards Dindigul, the road becomes two lane. It is a state highway. On both sides of the road there are vast green farmlands. At times, you will cross small villages on your way. The road will still be winding through the planes. And at one point, there is a stretch of road with green trees on both the ends hugging each other, forming a shady path.
Soon, you will start seeing the mountain ranges at the other end of the hill. Those are exactly the mountains that you will soon be climbing. After about a rough drive of 50 kilometers on the state highway, you reach the foothill of the mountains where the ghat road starts.
The Ghat Road
Once on the ghat road, there is another stretch of almost 50km that you will cover. It takes around one hour to cover this part of the Bangalore – Kodaikanal highway since it’s hilly and steep at places. It’s also single lane at few stretches. The upper reaches of this road pass through some dense hilly forests. You might spot some small natural streams and waterfalls amidst the forest. You can get the fragrance of wet and damp earth and get the feeling of humid and fresh atmosphere as you drive through these forests. At times you will find fruit sellers and jackfruit sellers in particular on the side of the road.
Finally, after a drive of an hour, and climbing almost till the top of the hill, you will start seeing habitation. So, this means you are officially in Kodaikanal town. You can drive through the town, asking the locals for the direction of your accommodation. Both the time when we have been here, we stayed near coaker’s walk. That is a little further the Kodaikanal bus stand. However, no matter where you have booked your accommodation, the locals are quiet friendly and honest. They will help you out in finding your place of stay. Once you reach there, you can relax and get fresh.
You might have reached the destination, but there are some journeys that are as pretty as the destination itself. And the Bangalore to Kodaikanal highway drive is one of them. We want to hit this road as much as possible for the beautiful ride that it provides. You will be bound to return to this route again and again. Do take this trip and share your experience with us, we will be awaiting your story…
Tips on taking the Bangalore to Kodaikanal highway
- Start as early as possible from Bangalore, to avoid getting caught in the city traffic.
- Stock yourself up with snacks. Since there are not many options from Salem onwards.
- The roads are in excellent condition, so, if you start in the morning, you will easily reach Kodaikanal by noon.
- Carry light jackets and woolen. Put them on when you hit the ghat road and temperature stops dipping.
- In Kodaikanal, our personal preference will be staying near Coaker’s walk since all the major sites are walkable from here.
- The road trip is long, so, plan for at least two days trip before you hit back the road to return.
- On the return trip , however, will be good if you can pack your lunch from Kodaikanal only. Since it will take quiet some time to reach Salem and till then you will not get any proper option for lunch outside.
- We wish more restaurants and eateries come up on this route as Kodaikanal becomes more and more popular.